freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Antidepressiva

Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and Autism: Why Wouldn’t Antidepressant Chemicals Affect a Developing Baby’s Brain?

This week another study was published (Boukhris, 2015) showing that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased rates of autism in the children.  By my count, this is now the tenth study on this topic and it follows on the heels of previous studies by Croen, Eriksson, Rai, Harrington, Gidaya, El Marroun and others – all of which found links between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism in the offspring.  Most of these studies were recently reviewed by Man, et al, who also concluded that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with autism in the children.

So we now have numerous studies in different human populations all showing a link between SSRI use in pregnancy and autism in the children.  Yet, much of the news and blogosphere focus on casting doubts about these findings.  What is going on here?

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Enough is Enough Series: 2-Year-olds on Anti-psychotics and Biological Markers for Psychosis

What is so disturbing about this destructive belief system leads right to the second article, “Still in a crib, Yet being Given Antipsychotics,” by Alan Schwarz in the New York Times, December 10, 2015. In fairness to the writer, he seems rather appalled himself. 20,000 prescriptions for Risperidone and Seroquel were written in 2014 for children under 2 years old; 83,000 prescriptions for Prozac have been given to children under 2; 10,000 children age 2 or 3 have been given Adderall; the numbers for benzodiazepines are not given, but they are large.

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Percentage of Americans on Antidepressants Nearly Doubles

From 1999 to 2012 the percentage of Americans on antidepressants increased from 6.8% to 13%, according to a report published this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

While other studies have reported on the increasing use of prescription drugs in the US in general, those studies have often relied on secondary data sources, such as pharmacy or medical claims reports. This new report on prescription use, first-authored by epidemiologist Elizabeth Kantor of Harvard University, derives its data directly from the population itself using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  The survey included results from 37,959 adults over age twenty, but did not include people hospitalized or institutionalized.

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Despite “Flurry of Interest,” Ketamine Remains Unproven For Depression

In 2014, then National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director, Thomas Insel, speculated that ketamine “might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.” A recent review of the research suggests that while ketamine may produce a rapid short-term improvement in depression, the effect is short-lived and the potential for addiction and dependence warrants considerable caution.

Ketamine was developed in 1962 and came into regular use in the 1970s as a fast-acting anesthetic for use on the battlefield in Vietnam. Soldiers realized that the drug produced an “out-of-body” experience that some found uncomfortable and its use in medical settings decreased.  By the 1980s, however, ketamine began to be used as a recreational drug and, as a result, the US federal government added ketamine to the list of schedule III controlled substances in 1999.

In an article published in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers led by Dr. Jeffrey Newport review randomized control trials on the use of the drug ketamine for depression. They note that ketamine, also known as the street drug “special K,” has been met with a “flurry of interest.” This interest, they write, is largely driven by the fact that currently available antidepressants have “less than optimal efficacy.” This problem is compounded by the fact the search for alternative antidepressant compounds has been “remarkably unsuccessful” over the past decade.

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Stopping SSRI Antidepressants Can Cause Long, Intense Withdrawal Problems

In the first systematic review of withdrawal problems that patients experience when trying to get off SSRI antidepressant medications, a team of American and Italian researchers found that withdrawing from SSRIs was in many ways comparable to trying to quit addictive benzodiazepine sedatives and barbiturates. Publishing in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, they also found that withdrawal symptoms can last months or even years, and entirely new, persistent psychiatric disorders can emerge from discontinuing SSRIs.

 

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